Beyond the Reach (2014)

(Video on Demand, June 2015)  Michael Douglas may be getting older, but can still play a terrific villain and while Beyond the Reach will forever struggle to be seen by more people, it does offer Douglas in fine form as a rich man convinced that the rules don’t really apply to him.  When a hunting trip turns sour and a man is killed by accident, the antagonist and his hunting guide come to engage in a deadly game.  Jeremy Irvine is ordinary in the role of the poor hunted protagonist, but it’s hard to hold his own against a splendidly magnificent Douglas.  Otherwise, Beyond the Reach features good cinematography of the Mojave Desert. (We can almost feel the heat coming from the screen.) It ridiculously falls apart at the end, with a coda as ludicrous as it seems detached from the rest of the film.  The direction is occasionally off, especially at the beginning –almost as if director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti couldn’t figure out if he was going for an indie drama or an escapist thriller.  There’s a fine line between stripped-down and enigmatic, and Beyond the Reach initially doesn’t quite know where it is.  Things get better once our two main characters are in the desert and money faces down wit.  It almost certainly could have been better, but in the meantime there’s always another fine Douglas performance to behold.

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